Few life events have the potential to be more stressful than a child custody battle. After all, your right to see your children and participate in their lives may be on the line. Still, children tend to thrive when both parents play an active role in their lives.
In California, judges must consider the best interests of the children when making custody-related decisions. Here are three things that can quickly complicate any child custody case.
1. Living a party lifestyle
Determining what is in the best interests of the children requires an examination of many factors. An important one, parental fitness, ensures each parent has the emotional maturity to care for the kids. If you drink excessively, use illegal drugs or otherwise participate in a party lifestyle, a judge may believe you are unfit to be a parent.
2. Engaging in parental alienation
According to Psychology Today, many child psychologists see parental alienation as a form of psychological abuse. Parental alienation occurs when one parent attempts to turn the kids against the other. The following behaviors may constitute parental alienation:
- Badmouthing the other parent to the kids
- Asking the kids to spy on the other parent
- Telling the kids to fear, distrust or despise the other parent
- Excluding the other parent from normal parent-child activities
3. Being deceptive
If you are not on good terms with your children’s co-parents, you may want to hide assets or even the kids. Engaging in trickery or deceptive behavior, though, is likely to make you look bad. Even worse, depending on what you do, your actions may be against the law.
Even though you cannot control the actions of your children’s other parent, you can put your best foot forward during your custody dispute. Put simply, anything you do to present yourself as a good parent is likely to benefit you in court.